Note: This sports recap appears in the Wednesday, Nov. 6 newspaper on Page B2.
JACKSON — There is a dream most boys who play football in Jackson, Ohio share growing up.
They dream of playing under the lights at Alumni Stadium on Holzer Field. They also dream of being able to wear a white lettermen’s jacket: reserved only for 10-0 regular seasons.
The 2019 Jackson Ironmen were able to live out the dream only a select few teams share, completing a perfect regular season as it utilized a stout defense and a dominant running game for a 49-2 victory over Chillicothe on Friday.
The win clinched the outright FAC league title and the first perfect season for the Ironmen since 2014.
“We always meet at Coach (Andy) Hall’s house at the beginning of the season, that’s the number one goal, to become undefeated,” senior quarterback Jared Icenhower said. “The perfect season is the dream of every Ironmen team.”
Oh, about that Ironmen defense. It was on display early.
On the third play of the game facing a 3rd and 14, Chillicothe’s Kam Smith dropped back and threw the ball to his left. But he overthrew everyone except for Icenhower, who raced 10 yards into the end zone untouched to give the Ironmen an early 6-0 lead.
The Cavaliers punted on the ensuing drive and that set up Icenhower again. The senior signal caller called his own number on the second play of the drive. He raced 53 yards to the Cavalier 30. A facemask added on an extra 15. On the next play, Jayden Spires took a handoff up the middle, bounced to the right and raced in for a 15-yard score, his first of four on the night for a 13-0 ball game.
After another Chillicothe drive went nowhere, Spires went to work. This time facing 2nd and 15, Spires took a handoff up the middle, bounced off of two Cavaliers and rumbled into the end zone to put the Ironmen ahead 20-0.
The Cavaliers and Ironmen traded punts before the Ironmen defense struck again, forcing a fumble and recovering the ball. The Ironmen scored two plays later as Icenhower found sophomore Tristan Prater, who out-jumped a defender to reel in the 21-yard touchdown and put the Ironmen ahead 27-0.
Spires would score twice more from short distance to put the Ironmen ahead 42-0 entering the locker room.
A receiving touchdown from junior Andrew McManaway and a late safety on a high snap brought the game to its final score.
Two years ago, it was the Cavaliers celebrating on the Ironmen’s field after winning the inaugural FAC title. This year it was a different story.
“It’s like revenge,” Icenhower said. “It is a great feeling, I am so proud of my guys.”
The Ironmen clinched a home playoff game as the No. 3 seed in Division III, Region 11. They are slated to matchup against No. 6-seeded Centennial on Friday.